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Our History

Public Square has been the heart of Cleveland since 1796.

Originally conceived as the open space of a traditional New England style town, it was meant to serve as a meeting place for the people. Over the last 200+ years it’s done just that.

People have gathered in Public Square to mark ends of wars, grieve deaths of Presidents including Abraham Lincoln, and celebrate innovation including the first electric streetlight.

It’s also home to some of Cleveland’s most treasured monuments including the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Moses Cleaveland statue, and Mayor Tom L. Johnson statue.

In addition to serving as a park and gathering place, Public Square has always been Cleveland’s transportation hub. First to horses and buggies, then to trolleys and trains, now to a mix of public transportation, cars, and pedestrians.  

Through the years Public Square has undergone nearly a dozen revisions, from town green, to monument park, to transportation hub, to the mixed-use space it is today.

The one constant being Public Square is the place where Cleveland comes together.

Photos of Public Square through the years courtesy of Cleveland Public Library/Photograph Collection. 

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